"Do you want to go check out some wildflowers today?"
I was visiting some friends last weekend near Paso Robles and Anna asked if I'd like to trek out "about 45 minutes" to see some flowers. I've known Anna since I was fresh out of college, and she and her husband and kids live in San Luis Obispo county.
I was game, and we all crowded into a car to drive a windy road to the wildflowers. I was sitting in the back with the kids (ages 7 and 3) and had to make strange rules for them like "do not put toe funk on me" and "don't get me wet." I won't lie -- it was cramped and I was feeling nauseated by the time we got out of the car nearly an hour and a half later.
But friends, this drive was so worth it.
We went to the Carrizo Plain, which has been a national monument since 2001. The wild weather, the yellow of the wildflowers, and the majesty of the area made for a really fun photo day. If you don't regularly check out my flickr stream, I thought I'd bring the photos to your attention.
The white lake bed that you see in the photos is called Soda Lake and it's a mostly dry, alkali lake that was dramatic to view. Marc of Mental Masala went to the Plain last year and has more photos and explanation of the area on his site.
I left feeling wind weary, happy, and astonished. It amazes me that I have been a Californian my entire life and that really beautiful, vast expanses of the state exist that I have never explored. I can't wait to go back.